HomeNewsBrief'El Salvador Gangs Confirm Truce'
BRIEF

'El Salvador Gangs Confirm Truce'

BARRIO 18 / 23 MAR 2012 BY HANNAH STONE EN

Representatives of the rival MS-13 and Barrio-18 gangs in El Salvador have confirmed the existence of a truce between them, negotiated with the help of the Church.

Raul Mijango, a former congressman who says he acted as a mediator in talks between jailed leaders of the two groups, released a document Thursday written in the name of "the national spokespeople" of the Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13) and Barrio 18.

The document says that the group does not "wish to keep making war," and that it has undertaken peace talks:

Since last year we have begun internally a deep process of reflection and analysis of the serious and pressing problems facing our country, of which we have been part, as a consequence of the war that we have been forced to fight due to social exclusion, marginalization, repression, and the need for survival...

We have not negotiated anything with this government, nor do we ask to, we are tired of corrupt and lying politicians ... that's why this time to accompany our process of reflection we preferred to ask for the assistance of the Church and civil society...

They have made it possible that after 20 years we have been able to reach an agreement between the two rival gangs where we have managed ... to significantly reduce the murders in the country, and, in a gesture of goodwill, to cancel all actions that include attacks against soldiers, police and guards.

The statement has criticism for website El Faro, which last week broke the story of a possible deal between the gangs and the government, saying it had made "perverse and false allegations." The website's sources said that the government had transferred 30 gang members to lower security prisons in exchange for a reduction in violence -- murders dropped by 53 percent in the week after the transfers, compared to the average in the first 12 weeks of the year. The existence of a deal was flatly denied by the government, which said its security policies were to thank for the reduction in crime, before a bishop announced days later that he had brokered a truce between the rival groups, with the knowledge of the government.

El Diario de Hoy reports that on Thursday, after the document was released, it visited imprisoned gang members, including some of the leaders who were transferred. The newspaper says that all the pandilleros they spoke to, 25 from MS-13 and 18 from Barrio-18, confirmed that the document was genuine and reflected their policies. Representatives of both groups said they had not negotiated with the government, and were not seeking to do so.

InSight Crime Analysis

El Diario de Hoy presents strong evidence for the theory that the drop in violence is the result of an inter-gang truce rather than a government deal.

However, doubts remain. The government has not been able to adequately explain the transfer of the 30 imprisoned leaders, while prison director Nelson Rauda admitted to El Faro that the move had been part of a strategy to bring down violence, and said that the leaders' promise to lower violence had been "a factor" in the move. A former national police chief told media Tuesday that it was obvious that the transfer must have involved a negotiation with the authorities.

(Image, above, from El Diario de Hoy, shows MS-13 members "El Diablo," "El Sirra," and "Tiberio" holding the document.)

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

EL SALVADOR / 12 AUG 2016

Prosecutors in El Salvador have filed court documents alleging that MS13 leaders sought to arm an "elite unit" of the…

BARRIO 18 / 18 DEC 2020

A recent police raid in the eastern part of El Salvador, in which a mayor and several municipal and judicial…

BRAZIL / 27 MAR 2018

A new report says that a lack of regulation of private security companies in Latin America is having negative impacts…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…